18161 Slices
Medium 9781855752061

Learning Not to Talk

Ward, Ivan Karnac Books ePub

Adam Phillips

I can swim like the others only I have a better memory than the others, I have not forgotten my former inability to swim. But since 1 have not forgotten it my ability to swim is of no avail and 1 cannot swim after all.

Franz Kafka1

In the Bulletin of the Anna Freud Centre celebrating their remarkable Nursery School’s thirtieth birthday (Vol II, Part 4:1988), most of the papers make reference to the role of nursery school play in facilitating the young child’s verbalisation. Marie Woods, for example, refers to the ways in which a Nursery experience can ‘help to redress (for the child) early shortcomings by offering those things which the environment may so far have been unable to provide: routine physical care, warm and consistent relationships, careful clarification and verbalisation linking outer and inner experiences, and stimulating play and learning situations’ (p295). It is perhaps inevitable, that a nursery project committed, in Manna Friedman’s words to ‘fostering the rapport between education and child therapy for the under-fives’ (p278), would find itself coming up against the question of language. Anna Freud and her colleagues were learning to talk, finding ways of talking about, children who were themselves learning to talk for the first time, as it were. Learning to talk is very difficult, and it does not get any easier. Learning to talk about people who are learning to talk is bound to be a puzzling and powerfully evocative project. It takes you back, so to speak, while pushing you forward.

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Medium 9781855750562

CHAPTER TWO. A theory of the cybernetics of prejudices

Karnac Books ePub

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language provides several definitions for the term prejudice, the second of which fits our use of the term: Prejudice— A preconceived preference or idea. A bias. To elaborate on this brief definition, we are in agreement with Gadamer that the notion of prejudice is not in and of itself a negative thing (Cecchin, Lane, & Ray, 1991, 1992, 1993). Furthermore, we firmly believe that it is useful for therapists to understand what their prejudices are. According to Gadamer:

It is not so much our judgements as it is our prejudices that constitute our being. This is a provocative formulation, for I am using it to restore to its rightful place a positive concept of prejudice that was driven out of our linguistic usage by the French and English Enlightenment. It can be shown that the concept of prejudice did not originally have the meaning we have attached to it. Prejudices are not necessarily unjustified and erroneous, so that they inevitably distort the truth. In fact, the historicity of our existence entails that prejudices, in the literal sense of the word, constitute the initial directedness of our whole ability to experience. Prejudices are biases or our openness to the world. They are simply conditions whereby we experience something—whereby what we encounter says something to us. This formulation certainly does not mean that we are enclosed within a wall of prejudices and only let through the narrow portals those things that can produce a pass saying, “Nothing new will be said here.” Instead we welcome just that guest who promises something new to our curiosity. But how do we know the guest whom we admit is one who has something new to say to us? Is not our expectation and our readiness to hear the new also necessarily determined by the old that has already taken possession of us? [1987]

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Medium 9781780491981

Chapter Five - Reforming Subjectivity: Personal, Familial, and Group Implications of English Reformation

Weegmann, Martin Karnac Books ePub

Take any event, process, or fact and place it in history. Once done everything changes, since that event, process, or fact, gains the context of time, location, and movement. In other words, place something in history and it becomes possible to see it as history; history opens the door to contingency. All historical writing involves an interpretive dimension, since we can never be sure that we have comprehended the horizontal context in which the object of study occurred. The past is always there, but the activity of the present, including that of the historian, works upon it. Man is a symbolising creature. We cannot transcend the symbolic realm, and history is a discipline undertaken by those with particular foci and projects; further, the objects of historical study are past symbolic activities. History is the history of previous, meaningful being, and historians are themselves products of history (Burrow, 2007).

The Reformation, the subject of this chapter, is an interesting case in point, as it is a colligatory concept that joins up countless lesser changes into the retrospective, envisaged “movement”, by which people redefined their worlds (Haigh, 1995). Is it though, part of a “continuum of history”, or, “an extraordinary historical moment”? (Collinson, 2003); because the redefining was so extensive, the Reformation came to signify a vast watershed, with new confessional communities feeling invisibly united by images of their greater communion or brotherhood. If meaningful being is always underway, never settled, then an element of scepticism is inherent to the historian's craft. E. H. Carr, in What is History? (1987), gives the example of “the historian who has decided for his own reasons that Caesar's crossing of that petty stream, the Rubicon, is a fact of history, whereas the crossing of the Rubicon by millions of other people…interests nobody at all” (pp. 11–12). Carr thus concludes that the old dogma that “the facts speak for themselves” is untrue.

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Medium 9781855755260

1: Pride and prejudice in family therapy theories

Jim Wilson Karnac Books ePub

I“ t is a truth universally acknowledged that … ”1 we all carry many influences that inform our approach to practice. Our favourite theories and methods can be held with pride, and we don't easily give them up. Our approach can be challenged, but it is often the case that the ideas we hold are felt as a personal investment, not simply an intellectual one. In this chapter, I outline my influences, my prejudices, and my critique of some of the practices that I think can confine creativity. In so doing I also invite you to revisit your favourite influences to see in what ways you may extend your repertoire of concepts.

My early studies of structural (Minuchin, 1974, 1998; Minuch-in &Fishman, 1981; Minuchin, Montalvo, Guerney, Rosman, &Schumer, 1967), and strategic approaches (Haley, 1973, 1976; Haley &Hoffman, 1967; Madanes, 1981, 1984; Watzlawick, Beavin, &Jackson, 1967; Watzlawick, Weakland, &Fisch, 1974) were superseded in my lineage by the first-order cybernetic approaches of the early Milan associates (Palazzoli, Boscolo, Cecchin, &Prata, 1978, 1980a, 1980b). These early influences on my practice still find a place where the situation deems it. In the 1980s and early 1990s, the critiques of “first-order” therapies by the feminist therapy movement (see, for example, Goldner, 1985, 1991; Goldner, Penn, Scheinberg, &Walker, 1990; Hare-Mustin, 1986; Jones, 1990) and the challenges brought by collaborative language-based therapies (Andersen, 1991; Anderson &Goolishian, 1988) and the “narrative turn” (White, 1989, 1990; White &Epston, 1990) had the combined effect of creating a greater flexibility in using theories and practices from different sources. They also placed the activity of the therapist in a political and cultural context in a way that provoked much greater awareness of and sensitivity to the politics of practice and the values that can inspire it.

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Medium 9781855754744

Thoughts and moods in depression

Young, Courtenay Karnac Books ePub

Basic concepts

Experiences that happen to us (initially often neutral) are received by our senses, and processed by our brain. There they are interpreted, or given a particular set of meanings, dependent on our way of thinking, expectations, or previous experiences. This is all before we experience any emotional responses.

Depending on the type of experience and the different expectations or meanings that we can attach to it, our subsequent emotional reactions can vary considerably. Essentially, our feelings are often created by our thought patterns, and our thoughts are determined by our moods. Dependent on our thoughts, and thus our feelings, we then decide to behave in certain ways. There is, therefore, a connection between thoughts, moods, and behaviour. Within cognitive–behavioural therapy (CBT), this thought–mood–behaviour connection is seen as fairly paramount, and as the essential key to any change. While this is true, it is—of course—not the whole story.

Internal belief systems, and sub-conscious thought patterns (like the one where you don’t think that you are a very nice person) will determine how and what you perceive of the surrounding environment: events that are happening, or may happen; how you might respond to them; how you interpret your perceptions; and what conclusions you might draw from these.

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